I was watching American Horror Story, and oh boy… did that make me uncomfortable.
They leaned pretty heavily into using queer and BDSM imagery to create a sense of “otherness.” It was supposed to unsettle you by presenting you with “freaks,” but to me, it was unsettling because I have friends who look like that. Seeing them presented as monsters was just deeply uncomfortable.
Writing horror means taking a trip down the dark avenues of your brain and confronting what lives there. It can be a really good way of facing and even conquering your fears. However, it can also shine a bright spotlight on toxic beliefs you hold.
Lovecraft famously showed this in a lot of his work. He is the father of cosmic horror, but a lot of the fear he was tapping into was the fear of people of colour and racial mixing (contamination as he would have called it).
Silence of the Lambs famously has a villain who defies gender norms as a way to underscore how degenerate he is. In fact, many villains or monsters are gay coded.
I ran into this myself a while ago while writing. I noticed that the discomfort I was tapping into turned out to be straight-up homophobia. That was an unpleasant discovery, to say the least, and I ended up abandoning that aspect of the story.
Horror can unite us when it taps into the fears that we all share. The fears of death, pain, and abandonment, and so on. It can show us that at the core, we are all much alike. But it can also show you that what you fear most is other people. So, be aware… when you take a stroll in the dark corners of your mind, you may find things you wished you hadn’t.